Fall Root Vegetable Pot Pie with Sweet Potato Biscuits

Menu: This bad boy only needs a beverage. It was plenty of food. The boys had some Sam Adams Oktoberfest and I had Roots Cab Sav, delightful!

Music: We were entertaining a guest, so I just threw on Avett Brothers Pandora. I love using Pandora when entertaining, so you’re not constantly getting up to change CD’s, records, playlists, etc. It was a perfect, easy going blend for a quintessential Fall meal!

This meal was beautiful! I had bought (along with the rest of the world) the Living Social deal for Whole Foods a while back. I was up in Greenville so I decided to stop in and cash out my coupon. I never go to Whole Foods with a shopping list. You end up spending a ba-zillion bucks (yes, that is an exact figure). I go to Whole Foods to grab a few things that grab my attention and then stop elsewhere to round out a meal. The first thing I saw when I walked in was these beautifully ugly organic purple sweet potatoes from a nearby farm in NC (the dark looking potato between the sweet potato yam and parsnips). Then I remembered this recipe and set out grabbing lots of root vegetables and what I would need.

See the first blooms of Zinnias from our garden!

The veggies with lots of olive oil and herbs waiting to be roasted. Isn’t the purple just beautiful? The purple sweet potato tasted just like a sweet potato. I didn’t pick up any differences, except in the spots that I didn’t fully get the skin off, I noticed some very bitter bites. The skin was very thick and gnarly. 

The browned, caramelized, yummy veggies. They also go by the name of “Fall in a Bowl”. As BJ said, I could just eat that right there!

I could have also cut the biscuits a bit thicker. They had great flavor, but didn’t rise well as I used whole wheat pastry flour. 

I would make a few changes upon making this again. First of all, I would add mushrooms to the béchamel. Few a few dried mushrooms, rehydrated, then chopped into the base of the bechamel would really round out the earthiness of the dish. Second, I didn’t add wine, as I didn’t have any on hand. If you don’t, I would suggest adding a squeeze of lemon juice or something to brighten the flavors. That was missing from my dish. Third, I went with turnip because I couldn’t find a celery root. I would most definitely go with celery root if given the option. Man, just writing all those changes really makes me want to make this dish again soon!

I hope you enjoy this dish on a nice chilly night soon! Let me know how it turns out!

Fall Root Vegetable Pot Pie with Sweet Potato Biscuit Topping


  • About 1 lb. brussels sprouts, stem cut, outer leaves trimmed, and halved
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces*
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces*
  • 2-3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces*
  • 1 rutabaga, celery root, or turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces*
  • EVOO
  • S & P
  • 2-3 tspn. Herbes de Provence (or dried thyme, I had this on hand)
  • 1 tspn. sage
  • 1 large onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 TB butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups of milk
  • Big splash of white wine or sherry, optional
  • Pinch of nutmeg, thyme, cayenne
  • Unbaked sweet potato biscuits (Recipe below)
  • You could always make this with meat, just throw chicken in to roasted veggies and combine with béchamel. 
  1. Heat oven to 425. Toss all the chopped veggies with ample amounts of EVOO, S & P and dried herbs. Spread into one layer on multiple baking sheets. Put into oven and roast. Open and stir every 20 minutes or so. They are done when your kitchen smells delicious and veggies are brown in spots and tender in the middle. Remove from oven, set aside. Keep oven on!
  2. In a saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion. Saute until translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add garlic. Saute for a minute. 
  3. Add flour to onion mixture. Stir until fully incorporated and cooked, about 2 minutes.
  4. Next, get ready to whisk in the milk! Go very slowly at first, incorporating the milk by a 1/4 cup at a time or so. Whisking completely into the flour and then adding more. This helps prevent lumpy béchamel!
  5. Add wine if using, remaining herbs, and S & P to taste. 
  6. Combine veggies and béchamel. Top with unbaked sweet potatoes biscuits, arranging them to your heart’s desire. 
  7. Put into oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the biscuits are puffy a light browned on the top. 
  8. Let rest for a few minutes and then devour. 
*If using homegrown veggies or organic from a trusted source, skip the peeling and just give a nice scrub. The skins always contain the best nutrients!
Sweet Potato Biscuits
  • 1 small-medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (definitely peeled here)
  • 1 3/4 cups flour (I used whole wheat pastry, as expected they didn’t rise as well)
  • 1 TB. brown sugar 
  • 2 1/2 tspn. baking powder
  • 1/2 tspn. baking soda
  • 1/2 tspn. salt
  • 7 TB cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup cold buttermilk or yogurt
  1. In a small pot, cover sweet potatoes with water, bring to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes are very tender. Drain well, then smash up with a fork. Reserve 3/4 cup of mashed potato and let it cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour through salt). Whisk to combine. 
  3. Press small pieces of butter into dry ingredients by squishing each piece in flour mixture. Then combine all the dough with your hands. It will resemble very course sand. Alternately, this can be done with a pastry cutter or food processor. 
  4. Stir in buttermilk and sweet potato mash until thoroughly combined.
  5. Place dough onto generously floured surface. Knead a few times until you have a nice consistency. 
  6. Roll dough out into about 1/4 inch thickness and cut into biscuits, however you please. I used a drinking cup, but you could use fun cookie cutters, squares, whatever!
  7. Place on pot pies or bake at 425 for about 20 minutes.

Tomato Coconut Curry Soup

Music: Cat Power, You are Free – This album is perfect for a lazy night of cooking.  As you will see in the recipe, there is a lot of down time.  I spent this time soaking in this album and enjoying Marshall’s sultry voice and poetic lyrics. There’s even some surprise vocals from Eddie Vedder on this album.  Anyone else into Cat Power? Any other album recommendations??

Menu: Soup topped with lime cilantro roasted chickpeas

Recently, we went out to eat at Watercourse Foods (yummm) with some super friends.  I have recently taken up this “gluten-free thing” to see if it helps with some other health issues.  As you may have inferred from the previous sentence, I’m not too thrilled about this “thing”.  For those of you who know me personally, know that I love my gluten.  Possibly my most favorite food item in the whole wide world is garlic bread.  I haven’t had garlic bread…in a really long time…sigh. 

So, when I had this tomato soup at Watercourse, I thought, “now this is a soup that doesn’t need garlic bread!” I must say it is heart-breaking to make tomato soup with out a hunk of crunchy, garlicky bread to soak it up. A few of us at the table got this soup and we all fell in love.  So much so, that one of us asked the waiter what was in it. His response was something like, “ummm tomato, curry, and coconut milk (duh was implied).” And of course, I thought I can’t wait to make this at home with whole spices to try to really boost the flavor.  That is precisely what I did!

You can see the seeds toasting: I selected cumin, coriander, fenugreek, and a touch of mustard seeds.  You can grind them in a spice or coffee grinder or have fun with your hands and do it with a mortar and pestle (courtesy of the husband for xmas!). I made my base of aromatics with the classic Indian/curry mixture – onion, chile, garlic, and ginger.  I browned the onions very deeply (this isn’t a good picture, sorry!).  This is the start of all the flavor.  If you have the time, spend a good 25 minutes browning the onions.  Then add the rest of your aromatics. 

Sometimes, I use a small food processor when cooking Indian to help reduce the time chopping.  However, if I have the time, I love to chop and mince ingredients.  It’s part of the reason I think cooking is so relaxing.  Many people report that running is relaxing because of the repetition of footsteps (along with many of other things…), and I think that’s what cooking does for me.  Once you become comfortable in the kitchen, it is repetition, especially knife skills.  Just writing this is making my wrists ache to get back in the kitchen and do some chopping…

Anyways, back to the soup!  The crunchy cabbage really adds to the soup and is part of the reason garlic bread is not entirely necessary for this tomato soup.  That doesn’t mean I wasn’t aching for it the entire time I cooked this soup. I did, however, come up with the brilliant idea to top this soup with something equally as crunchy as garlic bread…roasted chickpeas! So, I took what I planned on topping the soup with, lime juice and cilantro, and tossed that with very crunchy, roasted chickpeas, for a supremely satisfying crunch.

By the way, who needs cream when you have coconut milk?!?!  The coconut milk was such a perfect addition to this soup.  It made the spicy,  flavorful tomato soup base, rich, creamy, and slightly sweet. 

Funny side story about how awesome this soup is: We had to leave for the weekend and my sister came over to dog and chicken-sit for a few days. One of the mentioned perks of pet sitting for us is that I try to leave lots of good food stocked 🙂 So, I got a text soon after we left that went something like this, “what the hell is in the soup?!? it’s rocking my world!!!!” I took it as a compliment that my rip-off of this Watercourse soup was a complete success 🙂

Tomato Coconut Curry Soup
Inspired by Watercourse Foods, Denver, CO


  • 1 TB cumin seeds
  • 1 TB coriander seeds
  • 1 tspn. fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tspn. brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tspn. tumeric
  • OR sub the whole toasted seeds for 2  – 3 TB curry powder
  • Ghee or coconut oil (around 2 TB)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large serrano pepper, minced (or hot pepper of your choice)
  • 5 – 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 – 1 1/2 piece of ginger, large gnarly spots, peeled, minced (I like to keep most of the skin on)
  • 2 – 28 oz. cans of tomatoes (your choice of type – I think I did one crushed and one diced)
  • 1 small head of cabbage, thinly sliced (I like it chunkier, but feel free to shred for a thinner result)
  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat is just better)
  • 1 batch of lime-cilantro roasted chickpeas


  1. Place all seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Toast for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and seeds have darkened. Remove from heat and ground spices.  You can do this by spice/coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Add tumeric and stir to combine.
  2. In large dutch oven, heat ghee or oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and  cook until brown and smelling delicious, at least 10 minutes and up to 35 minutes. 
  3. Add pepper, garlic, and ginger.  Stir to incorporate and cook for 2 minutes. 
  4. Add ground spices (or curry powder).  Stir to incorporate and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes.  Stir to incorporate.  Once mixture comes to a simmer, turn heat down to medium-low and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes.  You can speed this process up if on a time crunch, but the longer it simmers, the more time the flavors have to come together.  
  6. Once soup has simmered for a while, add cabbage.  Stir in and let cabbage soften in soup.  If you like your cabbage still pretty crunchy, this will only take 3 minutes or so.  If you like the cabbage a bit more soft, you can allow it to simmer in the soup for up to 15 minutes.  
  7. When the cabbage is done to your liking.  Turn heat off and add coconut milk.  Stir until soup is creamy and milk is completely dispersed in soup. Taste and season with S &P, if needed.
  8. Top with chickpeas (or garlic bread if you are so lucky, but please don’t tell me if you do…) and devour.

Summer Breakfast – Squash with blossoms and eggs

Music: After breakfast, BJ got called for an impromtu show, so while we didn’t technically listen to this while cooking, I dedicate this meal to the awesome show he and friends played and that night’s killer rendition of “Whipping Post” by the one and only Allman Brothers. 
Menu: Baked eggs with squash and toasted bread rubbed with garlic

I realize this post is a bit out of date as far as in season goes, but we just loved this quick, simple,  summer breakfast. Since our garden was OVERRUN with yellow squash, we ate it at almost every meal.  And anyone who came over, left our house with a big yellow crookneck squash.  Funny? Yes. Helpful? Absolutely. 

 The original recipe called for zucchini, which would add a lot of color and visual variety, but for the above mentioned reasons, I used yellow squash.  I piled matchstick squash and chopped blossoms in these cute little ramekins we got a Pier 1 (thanks M/L!)

 I wish I could say these are eggs from our backyard too, but maybe next year 🙂 

After squash came a few shreds of Swiss cheese. 

 And then the cracking of eggs, sprinkle of chives and breadcrumbs, and a splash of milk.  I might crack two eggs if you have a larger ramekin. 

I threw into into the oven with the bread that was toasting for about 10 minutes.

Then we dunked the bread in the yolk and ate it all!  There may have been licking involved, but I guess you’ll never know.

Yummy food in belly = Excellent impromtu show with friends.  Enjoy the pics from the last minute get together with BJ and friends at the Monkey Bar!

 Squash Blossoms and Baked Eggs
  • 2 – 4 large eggs*
  • 1 small yellow crookneck squash, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 – 4 squash blossoms, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Large handful of shredded cheese
  • Breadcrumbs (I toasted a small slice along with what I served alongside dish)
  • Chives, minced
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Bread slices, toasted
  • 1 small whole garlic clove, peeled
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° and grease ramekins. 
  2. Fill each ramekin with equal amounts of squash, blossoms, milk, and cheese. 
  3. Carefully crack an egg over each one, making sure the yolk remains intact. (It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t – it will still taste great!).
  4. Sprinkle the top of each egg with breadcrumbs, chives and Parmesan cheese.
  5. Transfer to the oven (easiest by placing on baking sheet) and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until the whites are just set. 
  6. Remove and promptly duck toast directly into runny yolk.  Enjoy 🙂

* Depends on hunger and size of ramekins.

Serves 2 healthy portions

Saag Chole & Nina

Music: Nina Simone, Anthology
Menu: Saag Chole, yogurt, tortillas (I had some that needed eating, but splurge on naan or chapati if you can!)

I’m baaaaaaaaaaack!!!!  I’ve have been MIA, I know.  I have no good excuse, really.  So, I’ll just leave it at that.

One of our recent culinary goals is to start cooking more Indian.  We LOVE Indian food.  And I have gotten the hang of making beginner style Indian meals.  In other words, I can make a mean curry, I have a basic stocked pantry, and an understanding of the flavors.  I have now entered phase two.  Phase two means advancing my pantry with whole spices, attempting ghee, and attempting to make homemade naan!  So, here is the first step to the addition of some yummy cumin seeds in this beautiful Saag Chole!

As you can see I have a bottle of cumin seeds.  I need to get whole coriander seeds, but the cumin seeds have made a HUGE difference already in flavor compared to using ground cumin!
This dish was quick, easy, and full of flavor and nutrition.   I used two packs of frozen spinach and two cans of chickpeas, too!  Next time I make it I will make a few changes…the first being coconut milk.  After I got everything in the pot, I added about 1/2 cup of water, I suggest replacing that with lite coconut milk.  The dish is pretty rich as is, so lite would be just fine.  I remember having Saag Chole at my fave Indian restaurant here in Denver and the dish being creamy and almost the consistency of a dip.  So, I did a bit of mashing towards the end to try to get this consistency, but I think coconut milk would go a long way.

A little bit about the music choice…in addition to loving Indian food, we also dig Nina Simone in a big way.  If you haven’t listened to her, do it.  Seriously, do it.   Now.   She’s known as a jazz standards singer, but she goes far, far, far beyond that (see Funkier Than a Mosquito’s Tweeter).  Her take on the standards are different (Feeling Good); her deep, melodic voice gives these songs an emotive quality unattainable by other singers (Black is the Color).  Beyond the familiar, the “High Priestess of Soul” was also an accomplished pianist, composer, and civil rights activist – a truly musical chameleon who embraced all styles and never shied from expressing her womanhood (I Put a Spell on You),  her beliefs (Let it All Out), and the undeniably passionate and soulful instrument which was her voice.

The Anthology album is a great compilation of both standards and originals and a perfect way to dip your toes into the wonderful world of Ms. Simone.  The only song that is missing, which I highly suggest you check out, is Baltimore.

Our wonderful friend Jillian is letting us hold her beautiful orchid hostage for a while and couldn’t resist this photo showing it off 🙂

Saag Chole


  • 1 large (or 2 medium/small) baking potato
  • EVOO or vegetable oil or ghee!
  • 1/2 tspn. (heaping) of cumin seeds
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1 small serrano chile
  • 5 – 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 tspn. coriander, tumeric, cinnamon, garam masala
  • 1/4 tspn. cayenne pepper
  • S & P
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages of frozen spinach
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Cilantro, optional


  1. Cut potato into small pieces resembling size of chickpeas.  Boil potatoes until almost tender.  Turn heat off and let stand in water for 5 minutes, drain.  
  2. Heat oil/ghee in large skillet.  Add cumin seeds and toast until fragrant and beginning to pop over medium-high heat.  
  3. While cumin seeds toast, place ginger, chile, and garlic in a small food processor and blend until a paste is formed.  Alternatively, you can mince these ingredients.  Add to skillet with cumin and saute for a minute until fragrant.
  4. Add onions.  Saute until deeply browned.  The browner, the more flavor!  Don’t let them burn, but a nice deep brown will intensify the flavor and allow for a deep color for the dish.  Stir frequently.  
  5. Add tomatoes and stir to incorporate. 
  6. Add all spices and stir to evenly distribute.  
  7. Add spinach and then chickpeas.  Drizzle with lemon juice.  Stir.
  8. Let simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes allowing the flavors to combine and stirring every few minutes.  
  9. Adjust seasonings as needed!  I needed a bit more lemon, cayenne and garam masala.
  10. Add some chopped cilantro, turn off heat.
  11. Serve with additional cilantro, yogurt, and a slice of lemon/lime.  Enjoy 🙂

Breakfast at the Callahan house

Music: Weekend morning noise? Try ESPN, not music 🙂
Menu: Parmesan polenta squares with spinach and a fried egg

Breakfast? It’s a meal that goes forgotten a lot. And we love breakfast, well BJ LOVES breakfast and I love grits. So here is a meal that we make a lot with many variations. I’ll walk you thought it…

Start the grits or polenta (corn meal). If I’m making polenta, I like to use a little milk for creamier version. Grits and polenta should be cooked in a 4:1 ratio, with lots of salt. I usually start the water/stock/milk mixture over high heat and generously season with salt. Turn the heat down to simmer and stir grits.

While the grits cook, lightly saute a little garlic and toss a couple handfuls of spinach and wilt the greens.

Once the grits become fairly firm and no longer runny. Season with garlic powder, S & P, and parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup). Put grits into a baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for about 20 – 25 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Once the grits are out, cut into squares.

Top with spinach mixture.

A fried egg, more parmesan, and fresh herbs.

And that’s how we do breakfast 🙂

Poblano, Zucchini, and Corn Soup

Music: Jewel, Pieces of You – One of my favorite albums ever. And there is no substitute for one of the first cold days of the year, a hot soup, and relaxing music that brings you back to home.
Menu: Arugula salad and poblano and corn soup

I have mentioned that this was our first try at gardening, right? Although it turned out great, we definitely learned some lessons. One of them being, grow a variety of things. It feels like we just grew zucchini and peppers. And we love zucchini and peppers, but variety will be the theme of our garden next year.

We planted a late crop of lettuce – arugula and a mixed greens…so good. We planted spinach, mixed greens, and swiss chard early, but no spinach or lettuce came up and our chard was overrun with leaf miners…nasty little buggers. We got to enjoy one batch or wonderful lettuce before out landlord SPRAYED OUR GARDEN WITH WHITE SPRAY PAINT. Oh, the joys of renting.

Back to the soup! I can’t believe it is fall in Denver already!! Fresh snow on mountain tops and boxes of summer clothes to the basement. So, a hearty soup is in order, naturally. Since I have massive amounts of zucchini and peppers, I thought this poblano and zucchini soup would be perfect. Sweet, but spicy and full of big chucks of veggies…can’t go wrong with that. Top it with cheese and maybe a little lime sour cream. Yummmmmm.

Oh! And for those of you super observant people, you might have noticed the background of the pictures changing…you’re right! We moved!!! And you know what that means?!? Housewarming party coming up 🙂 I plan to feature all the recipes, time planning tips, and hosting ideas right here. So stay tuned that party is coming.

Poblano, Zucchini, and Corn Soup
Adapated from this recipe


  • EVOO
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 – 5 small poblanos or 2 big ones, chopped
  • 2 small jalapenos, minced
  • S & P
  • 2 tspn. cumin
  • 4 – 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 medium zucchini or 1 large one, quartered and chopped
  • 3 ears of corn, kernels scraped off and milked of juices
  • 6 cups chicken stock or water*
  • Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, lime wedges (or combine sour cream, lime juice, and zest for something a little different!), fresh chopped cilantro


  1. Heat 1 – 2 TB EVOO in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add poblanos and jalapenos and cook for 2 -3 minutes. Season with S & P and cumin.
  2. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add zucchini and corn and stir to combine. Cover ingredients with chicken stock and water. increase heat to high and let it come to a boil. Turn heat down and let soup simmer gently for about 7 – 10 minutes.
  3. With a hand immersion blender, blend soup slightly to thicken and provide some texture. We like our soup thick and chunky, but you can blend it all the way down, if you prefer it that way.
  4. Top with your choice of toppings and serve 🙂

*We use “Better than Bouillon” chicken base.